November 27, 2021 dyxk Comments Off

Access Arrangements allow candidates/learners with special educational needs, disabilities or temporary injuries to access the assessment without changing the demands of the assessment. Access Arrangements can only be granted if they are a candidate’s ‘normal way of working’ and the candidate has a history of need. The purpose of Access Arrangements is to ‘level the playing field’, by removing barriers to assessment and provide equality of opportunity for all. In this way, examination boards will comply with the Equality Act 2010 to make ‘reasonable adjustments’. 

Each year the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) updates the regulations surrounding Access Arrangements for GCSE and GCE (A Level) examinations. Access Arrangements must be applied for and agreed before the exam, based upon assessment need and the candidates usual way of working. 

Students can be assessed for Access Arrangements no earlier than 26 months before their examinations. This means that most schools will assess students in the summer term of Year 9, or throughout Year 10. The deadline to submit an application for Access Arrangements is usually in February, although late applications can be submitted under special circumstances.

In order to complete an application for Access Arrangements, a ‘Form 8’ needs to be completed. This has three parts:

Part 1 – Completed by the schools’s SENCO. This paints a picture of need, identifying the students difficulties and levels of support. It includes an educational and/or SEN history, teacher comments and evidence of usual way of working in class. 

Part 2 – Completed by the school’s assessor, or an assessor who has a working relationship with the school. An assessor must be either an Educational Psychologist or a dyslexia assessor with an SpLD Assessment Practising Certificate or a specialist teacher with a Level 7 EAA assessing qualification. They will use recognised standardised assessment to assess students. Assessments may focus upon: handwriting speed and clarity; processing speed; working memory. Assessments might also explore reading accuracy, spelling accuracy or reading comprehension. The Assessments provide a standard score which enable comparisons ad can be used to identify if the score is within the average range. 68% of the population falls within the average range. Usually, for an access arrangement to be implemented, the score must be below the average range. 

Part 3 – Completed by the school’s SENCO. A signed confirmation of the arranged Access Arrangement. 

Whilst there are a number of different Access Arrangements and examination concessions, the most common include:

· 25% Extra time. This provides the candidate with additional time to complete the assessment. In exceptional circumstances more than 25% extra time can be provided.

· A reader or reading technology. This provides the candidate with someone (or technology) that reads the examination paper and/or what the candidate has written out-loud. In an exam that assesses reading ability a human reader is not allowed. 

· A scribe. A scribe will write what the candidate dictates. Marks for SPaG cannot be awarded.

· Modified papers. Examination papers have the exam printed in different sizes, fonts, colours, braille, or modified language.

· Assistive technology. Many students prefer to use a specific examination laptop (with the spell checker turned off) instead of handwriting (or using a scribe). Other assistive technology includes exam reading pens, computer text readers, and voice processors. These must be the student’s usual way of working in class. 

· Separate room. To accommodate some of the above Access Arrangements, or for students with high anxiety, sensory difficulties of other Special Education Needs, they may be able to complete the examination in a separate room.

· Supervised rest breaks. The time is stopped whilst the student is having a break and restarts once they are able to restart the examination. Rest breaks are usually put in place due to a medical condition.

It should be noted that Access Arrangements should:

· be the minimum necessary to allow the student to demonstrate their level of ability 

· not be intended to compensate for lack of attainment 

· not give any advantage to the candidate

The current Access Arrangement guidance for schools can be found at:

Advice for students on how to make the best use of their Access Arrangement can be found at: or contact us for any queries or to book an remote dyslexia / access arrantement assessment